The importance of being a good liar

“You see, your problem is that I’m a really good liar and you’re not.” – Romo Lampkin, The Son Also Rises

The first lie anyone ever tells you is that they don’t lie. Yet we’re indoctrinated from the time we’re old enough to speak to believe this is a BAD THING(tm). By people whose jobs are made more difficult if they can’t simply learn whatever they want to know by interrogating you.

Yet this also conflicts directly with our autonomy.

So we learn to lie, and then deny that we do so.

The reason this matters is that in order to lie with any success whatsoever, we must remember two versions of the truth; the literal truth, and what it is we want the person we are lying to to believe. When we’re too conflicted to even acknowledge that this is possible, we wind up running around with hundreds upon thousands of different versions of reality banging around in our heads.

The correct term for this condition is compartmentalization. Everybody suffers from this condition to some extent; it’s inevitable. It can be brought on by a number of other conditions as well; they are immaterial for purposes of this discussion.

The real problem is simply that we prefer to think that we’re logical, rational and well considered, yet continually create cognitive blind spots because of instances like this.

There is how things ought to be, and how things actually are. Often times, we get so hung up on how things should be that we lose sight of how things are. This, in turn, prevents us from being logical/rational/etc. — so it’s better to be honest about them, at least with ourselves, in the interest of avoiding the creation of unnecessary problems.

Nor should any of this be misconstrued as advocating lying.

I’m merely pointing out that when one finds it unavoidably necessary that it is better to do so in a completely conscious and intelligent fashion. So before you spam me with rants about how incredibly honest and forthright you are? Fuck off. I already KNOW you’re completely full of shit.

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  • Comments (2)
    • babaganusz
    • June 27th, 2010

    “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
    -Mark Twain

      • Max Bell
      • June 27th, 2010

      That’s why he made publishers wait 100 years before releasing his autobiography, right?

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